• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

Dork Dad vs. Dick Dad: The Fine Line

June 26th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Link Bait  |  2 Comments

One of the great things about being a father is that, well, you get to act like a father. Not in the teaching-your-kid-to-play-ball, carrying-the-sleeping-first-grader-to-bed sentimental-tripe way, but in the sense of getting to indulge in stereotypically dorky dad behavior. Example:

“Hey,” says Sasha, trying to get my attention.

“Hay is for horses,” I interrupt.

Sasha looks confused. “Hey—”

“—is for horses.”

Sasha tries again: “Hey—”

“—is for horses!”

I’m not just messing with her here—I’m trying to teach her not to just say “Hey!” to get someone’s attention. Well, and I’m messing with her, because it’s fun! Because I can! Because it’s a silly-stupid thing to say. Soon, I imagine, I’ll tell her, “Sit down, kid, you’re rocking the boat!” Just like my grandfather used to say all the time.

This is great. I’ve started wearing silly boxer shorts around the house, and Dad’s receding hairline and generally foul aroma are becoming stock jokes with Sasha. Maybe I’ll get a beagle and start smoking a pipe—whatever will bring me closer to the 80s-sitcom ideal of the paterfamilias.

Mostly, though, it’s going to be through the idiotic things I say, and that’s where I need to watch myself. Yesterday, for example, the guy at the butcher store gave Sasha a lollipop, which she asked me to open. I did, then pretended it was mine.

“Where’s your lollipop?” I asked.

She could tell I was joking, but I could also tell she wasn’t quite sure what was up. Was Daddy really about to steal her lollipop? And I could have—I could’ve just given it a single lick to amp up the joke, but that, I knew, would put things over the edge. But I didn’t—I handed it back to her.

This is a danger zone for me. Sometimes I don’t know when to stop with a joke, with the teasing, and I worry about becoming like Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin in those episodes when you just can’t believe, or tolerate, their behavior. Or like a certain friend’s dad, a miserable jerk who thought he was really funny and always had a sneaky smile on his face and a can of beer in his hand. The kind of guy who’d say, “My house, my rules,” knowing it was cliché, and inadequate to reality, but enforcing it all the same. He was Dick Dad.

The worst part about Dick Dad, actually, is that he doesn’t even realized he’s crossed the line from being a dork. Worse, he thinks he’s Cool Dad—hilarious and edgy. So that’s my warning signal: If ever I think I’m being cool, I can be pretty well assured I’m being a fucking dick.




  1. Jared Karol via Facebook says:

    June 26th, 2012at 10:01 am(#)

    It IS a fine line, isn’t it. Thanks for the reminder to not cross it (too often). . .

  2. neal says:

    June 26th, 2012at 10:50 am(#)

    Dang. I’ve found myself thinking recently that I might be approaching cool…but now that you mention this, I think I better take it easy for a while. My daughter’s 2, and I don’t want to cement my being a dick so young in her life. I can tell I have a problem because I CAN’T WAIT to use the “hey is for horses” thing.

Leave a Response


Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!


Do you show this to your kids?

AP Images

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Turkish police shot and killed the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported. Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot in Ankara, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. #APPhoto by Burhan Ozbilici

Story developing: http://apne.ws/2hRY0rH

Dec 19th, 2016 7:32pm • No Comments

"They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs."

The Children of the Opioid Crisis


Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again

Dec 16th, 2016 2:11pm • No Comments

Don't forget the gift receipt(s)!

A Gift for Every Type of Dad (That You Can Buy on Amazon)


Including cricket-flour protein bars, ice-cold beer chillers, and an air fryer that uses hardly any oil.

Dec 9th, 2016 3:27pm • No Comments

As Ryu Spaeth pointed out, the only thing worse than "Papa" is the pronunciation "paPA." PERISH THE THOUGHT.


“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” said Will Grose, 36, a Brooklyn father of three boys under the age of 5.

Nov 30th, 2016 5:20pm • 1 Comment